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Trinidad: Venezuelan asylum seekers flock to church

By Sandhya Santoo

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Venezuelan nationals at the steps to the Our Lady of Perpetual Help RC Church in San Fernando on Thursday. Photo: Trevor Watson.

(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) — Scores of Venezuelan asylum seekers flocked to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in San Fernando on Thursday to provide their personal information to the Living Water Community, a Church organisaiton.

According to the Living Water Community: Ministry for Migrants and Refugees website, the non-governmental organisation has served as an implementing partner for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) over two decades and, “is the only organisation in Trinidad and Tobago that works with persons in need of international protecting and other categories of vulnerable migrants”.

No one at Living Water Community wanted to officially comment on the services provided in San Fernando. However, the Express was told that Venezuelan nationals seeking asylum were at the Church to provide their personal information.

Venezuelan nationals at the steps to the Our Lady of Perpetual Help RC Church in San Fernando on Thursday. Photo: Trevor Watson.

Last week, National Security Minister Stuart Young announced that Venezuelan nationals in the country can register with the State to access limited public services between May 31 and June 14.

Young said the registration process should eliminate the exploitation that some Venezuelan nationals are currently subjected to from local employers.

Young also warned that the two-week amnesty will not be extended and registration centres are located in Arima, Scarborough, Cedros, Port of Spain and San Fernando.

Five million dollars has been budgeted for the exercise.

The Living Water Community assumes responsibility for identifying cases of concern to UNHCR ensuring their access to protection. This includes screening, psychological care and case management, humanitarian assistance, presenting asylum seekers to the Immigration Division, as well as access to and facilitation of UNHCR’s RSD procedure. Public awareness and advocacy are also coordinated.

The Express was also told that among the services provided, the LWC has learn to speak English classes for Venezuelan nationals.

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